Hello Cruel World
Friday, May 30, 2008
On Certainty, Fallibility, etc.

The problem has been noted, sadly, for some time
The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubts. — Bertrand Russell

The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
     WB Yeats, The Second Coming
It is also put clearly, passionately, and with references to its possible effects in the 'Knowledge and Certainty' episode of The Ascent of Man, by Jacob Bronowski; quoted in The Danger of Knowing for Sure, and here, as well as part of discussing 'Science', mostly under the heading "science as a candle in the dark".

There's even scientific studies of a related phenomenon. My link to this has gone dead, so here's info to track it down with.
Journal of Personality and Social Psychology - December 1999 Vol. 77, No. 6, 1121-1134
Unskilled and Unaware of It: How Difficulties in Recognizing One's Own Incompetence Lead to Inflated Self-Assessments
Justin Kruger and David Dunning, Department of Psychology, Cornell University

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Australia, New South Wales, Sydney, English, photography, reading, natural history, land use, town planning, sustainability.